Trails of Humboldt Redwoods State Park

The following are some of the most popular trails in the park. There are many more trails to choose from at the park.

[Bull Creek Flats Loop Trail]
[Big Tree Area]
[Grasshopper Peak Trail]
[Founders Grove]
[Drury Chaney Trail]
[Canoe Creek Loop Trail]
[Childrens' Forest Trail]

Bull Creek Flats Loop Trail

Located four miles west of the Avenue of the Giants on Mattole Road at the Big Tree Area. Follow the signs leading to the Rockefeller Forest. (Highway 101 signs say "Honeydew," "South Fork" and "Rockefeller Forest." None of the highway signs direct you to "Mattole Road.")

Trail begins at the Big Tree Area parking lot.
Hiking time: 5 hours
Distance: 9 mile round trip
Difficulty: Easy, but a long hike.

Bull Creek Flats Loop Trail begins to the right of the Giant Tree.

The first creek you cross is Squaw Creek, which is an important spawning tributary for salmon and steelhead. The fire scars here date from a small fire in 1985. Other scars are much older. You will pass Johnson Camp Trail, which leads to the Johnson Trail Camp. You will see a variety of plant life and many different ferns and mosses.

This trail winds through the largest remaining contiguous old-growth coast redwood forest in the world. The trail is primarily on the flats above the creek, but drops down to the creekbed in several spots. It is shaded by the towering trees and a really nice hike in summer. After about four miles, the trail forks, leading to the Federation Grove and over the seasonal footbridge to Bull Creek Flats parking lot. Continue your journey by taking the trail across the creek and along the other side of the creek back to the Big Tree Area. This will make the round trip 9 miles.

This hike can also begin at the Rockefeller Loop Trail at Lower Bull Creek.

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Big Tree Area

Giant, Flatiron, and Tall Trees

Located four miles west of the Avenue of the Giants on the Mattole Road at the Big Tree Area.

Trail begins at the Big Tree area parking lot.
Hiking time: 10 minutes each
Distance: 100 yards
Difficulty: Easy

These trees are three unique examples of the magnificent giants that live here in the Rockefeller Forest.

Grasshopper Peak Trail

Located four miles west of Avenue of the Giants on the Mattole Road. Trail may also be taken from Grasshopper Lookout Road, five miles west of Avenue of the Giants.

Trail begins at the Big Tree Area parking lot
Hiking time: Allow eight hours round trip
Distance: 14 miles round trip
Difficulty: Strenuous, seven miles up and seven miles down
Elevation gain of 3200 feet

The Grasshopper Peak Trail is for those who would like to hike in the backcountry for the entire day. Be sure to take water and food and tell someone where you're going.

This trail begins by the Giant Tree in the Big Tree Area. Follow the trail east (left) until you reach the Johnson Trail Camp sign. Turn right and begin climbing through mixed forest to Johnson Trail Camp, then on to Grasshopper Road. This quiet backcountry road will take you to the top, 3379 feet elevation. You will be rewarded with 360 degree views of Humboldt Redwoods State Park. On a clear day, you can see the ocean, 50 miles away.

You may also choose to travel the entire distance up from Bull Creek on the Grasshopper fire access road. It begins west of the Big Trees area and is indicated by a sign "Lookout 7 miles."

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Founders Grove

Located four miles north of the Humboldt Redwoods State Park Visitor Center on the Avenue of the Giants.

Trail begins at the Founders Grove parking lot.
Hiking time: 1/2 hour
Distance: 1/2 mile loop trail
Difficulty: Easy

The grove was established in 1931 and has an area of 55 acres.

You will encounter the Founders Tree as you enter the grove. Pick up a self-guided brochure that explains old-growth/ancient redwood forests.

Height: 346 feet.
Diameter: 12 feet.
Circumference: 40 feet.
First limb: 190 feet high.
Age: 1300 - 1500 years old.

Watch for the remains of the fallen Dyerville Giant. Before it fell on March 24, 1991, the Giant was the tallest tree in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. It is as impressive on the ground as when it was standing. Lying on its side, this tree is as high as a two-story building.

Height: 362 feet
Diameter: 17 feet
Circumference: 52 feet
Root system: 38 feet in diameter
Age: Possibly 2000 years old

Founders Grove is dedicated to the founders of the Save-the-Redwoods League; John C. Merriam, Professor Henry Osborn, and Dr. Madison Grant.

These three men, after making a trip through the redwood region, decided that representative examples of the redwood forest should be preserved in a natural state for future generations. It was in appreciation of their work that the Save-the-Redwoods League dedicated the Founders Grove in 1931.

Save-the-Redwoods League is a non-profit organization which carries on a nationwide fund-raising and information program, aimed toward preserving representative groves of the magnificent California redwoods. Through their efforts, the vital work of the Save-the-Redwoods League was initiated in 1919 and has resulted in the preserving of many thousands of acres of redwood forest.

[Virtual Tour of the Founders Grove]

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Drury Chaney Trail

Located ten miles north of the Visitor Center on the Avenue of the Giants, across from the northbound road sign for Pepperwood.

Trail begins at the Drury Chaney Grove sign.
Hiking time: 1 1/2 hour
Distance: 2 3/4 miles round trip
Difficulty: Easy

Drury Grove - 1968
Chaney Grove - 1971

Drury Grove - 40 acres
Chaney Grove - 20 acres

Newton B. Drury and Ralph W. Chaney are past presidents of the Save-the-Redwoods League.

This is one of the most beautiful trails in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Many beautiful photographs can be taken along this redwood forest trail. You will see oxalis and various ferns covering the forest floor. One of these ferns, the lady fern, is very tall, lush green, and towers over the trail.

As you travel along the cool, shaded trail, you will discover a bench that was dedicated to Ralph Chaney for re-discovering the dawn redwood in China in 1948, and bringing seeds to the United States.

The trail loops around through old growth redwoods, passing the Canfield - Andrews Bench, the Irving Bench, and crossing the creek twice.

[Drury Chaney Groves - Auto Tour Stop #9]

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Canoe Creek Loop Trail

Located two miles south of Humboldt Redwoods State Park Visitor Center at the parking lot of Garden Club of America Grove.

Trail begins at the Garden Club of America parking lot.
Hiking time: 1 1/2 hours
Distance: 2 miles round trip
Difficulty: Moderate, steep slopes along the canyon

This grove was established in the mid-1930s. The Canoe Creek Loop Trail is located within the Garden Club of America Grove.

This superb grove of redwoods, located west of the river, contains approximately 5,000 acres. It is dedicated as a monument to the vision and generosity of the members of the Garden Club of America.

As you descend to the creek, pause at the bench to enjoy the view of the forest and the creek, which is a winter spawning stream for salmon and steelhead. After crossing the creek, you will enter an old-growth redwood forest with some large Douglas fir trees.

Several other trails may be accessed from here, including trails to Grasshopper Peak and Burlington.

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Childrens' Forest Trail

The trail begins at the river trail sign at Williams Grove, three miles south of the Visitor Center on the Avenue of the Giants. This trail is accessible from this point only when the summer bridges are in.

Trail begin at the River Trail sign at Williams Grove Day Use Area.
Hiking time: 2 hours
Distance: 2.4 miles round trip
Difficulty: Moderate, there are a few short, steep slopes on this trail before you reach the Children's Forest Trail.

This grove was established in 1941. It is 1120 acres in size.

This unique memorial was dedicated in 1941 as a memorial to children. The plan of the Children's Forest was to have those individuals who had lost children of their own, or children of others dear to them, contribute to units in the Kerr Creek Grove.

This area was described as: "A grove which children would fancy, and in which one can fancy children, not too dense a grove, but one carpeted with oxalis and ferns, with shafts of sunlight and a playful stretch of river bank."

This trail will take you along the river through a dark second growth redwood forest, and through a hillside Douglas fir forest. When you reach the Children's Forest Loop Trail, you will see a memorial sign that states: "To Dedicate a Redwood Forest as a common memorial to Children is to establish for all time a living monument and thereby make the remembrance immortal."

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[Map of the park.]
[Maps of the trails.]

Return to Humboldt Redwoods State Park Home Page.
Revised: 15 October 1996
Copyright © 1996; Humboldt Redwoods Interpretive Association